In the last years, the international child abduction has become a relevant problem involving an increasing number of families.

Pursuant art. 570 of Italian Criminal Code, whoever subtracts to the parent or other guardian, a child under fourteen years of age or of unsound mind, or holds them against the will of the parent or other guardian, shall be punished with imprisonment from one to three years. Moreover, according to Art. 570 bis, the person who subtracts a child to the parent or other guardian, leading or holding him abroad against the will of that parent or guardian, shall be punished with imprisonment from one to four years. In particular, if the crime is committed by a parent, the sentence involves the suspension of his/her parental authority.

The 1980 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty ratified by several countries including Italy. This treaty seeks to set out a simple process by which local courts where the child was taken will apply the provisions and law included within the treaty rather than national law provisions. The legal process introduced by Hague Convention requires the child was removed from his/her State of habitual residence. However, although the term “habitual residence” may have a different meaning in each signatory States, the two factors that determine the habitual residence meaning are: a) the location of child’s centre of life b) the shared intentions of the parents.

Under these circumstances, VGS family lawyers’ first priority is the protection of children and parents/guardians’ rights. At VGS lawyers we have developed a strategy that includes three main steps:

  1. Reporting of the case to Italian and international consular, judicial, and ministerial authorities;
  2. Searching for the child through our channels. At VGS we are aware that the abductor parent will try to hide the child; for this reason, we provide full support also using private investigators services;
  3. Working over three legal jurisdictional levels with the purpose of child’s return:
    • Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction;
    • Italian Law;
    • The law of the country where the child was taken.

We know that in case of child abduction time is of the essence, thus VGS Lawyers will assist you promptly.

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